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Pitman families, alumni to raise funds for facilities at first-ever reunion
Pitman High field
Pitman High welcomed a new all-weather track and synthetic turf field to the high school in 2019 as part of the $4.5 million Pitman Playfield Renovation project, but the field still lacks lighting and seating. The Pitman Development Foundation is raising funds to install a snack bar and seating areas at the field (Journal file photo).

Since 2017, family and friends of the Pitman High School campus community have been coming together under the Pitman Development Foundation, a 501(c) non-profit, to raise funds to upgrade and add facilities to the school’s campus. This year, they are coming back from a COVID-19 hiatus to host what they hope is their biggest effort yet – an alumni reunion tabbed as the Alumni Fest.

Alumni Fest, a 21 and over event, will take place on June 24 and will feature dinner, drinks and games such as cornhole, bingo, poker, music and raffles. Behind the reunion is Pitman Development Foundation president Mike Staack and member Renee Pacheco, who have each had children graduate from the school.

“Our goal has been to bring awareness to the inadequate facilities that we had,” Pacheco said.  “We’ve had the barbecue installed, the tables, we brought attention to the track and field, so there’s been a lot that we’ve done with very little money raised, and that’s because the school is so young. Some of the oldest graduates are a little older now, so we feel like we can start building the alumni community and that the alumni have now settled down and are in a position now to be able to give back.”

Since the Pitman Development Foundation was established in 2017, the group, which has also seen support from athletic director Dustin Curtiss and wife Madison as well as head football coach Eric Reza and wife Cynthia, has raised funds to build a barbecue pit and seating areas at the Pitman High football field. In terms of the field itself, they urged the school district to install the turf field at the campus alongside a new, rubber surfaced track.

Prior to the pandemic, the organization was raising money for a state-of-the-art scoreboard. The funds for the scoreboard are now being funneled to a new project, a snack bar next to the barbecue pit and seating areas. Despite there being no bleachers for spectators, the Pitman field has hosted soccer matches, freshman-level football games and cross country events.

“The goal is to raise $10,000 for the snack bar because it really generates the biggest revenues for the sports programs,” Pacheco explained.

There are snack bars at Pitman High at the varsity baseball field and softball field. Helping build the baseball snack bar was the Kiwanis of Greater Turlock, an organization where Staack also serves as president.

“I’m all about helping the community. If I see that there is someone or something that needs help, we try to do it,” he said. “You don’t have to be alumni. We’ll be having people from everywhere join us… It’s more than just Pitman. So many people will be using these facilities.”

Staack will be hosting the Alumni Fest at his family barn, which gets kicked off at 5 p.m. Tickets are $50 per person. There is a $50 buy-in for the poker tournament and a $25 buy-in for teams in the cornhole tournament.

Admission tickets can be bought in the Google form, which is attached to the organization’s Instagram page at @PitmanDevelopmentFoundation. Tickets can also be purchased through Pacheco by calling or texting (209) 678-6550. Community members are also encouraged to ‘Like’ the organization’s Facebook page at Pitman Development Foundation for future news and updates.